Days after at least 12 patients, including one senior doctor, died at one of Delhi's most prominent hospitals, the Batra Hospital as oxygen stocks ran out, the authorities have confirmed that they are planning to reduce the number of beds available because they're still struggling for oxygen supplies.
Dr Sudhanshu Bankata, executive director of the Batra Hospital, said: "We have informed our patients and posted signs that we won't be taking new admissions. We have also conveyed to the government that we can't work with the limited supply of oxygen".
According to another official at the hospital, who didn't wish to be named, "The hospital has 450 beds, all are occupied. Out of 450, currently, 200 patients are on oxygen support. We can't ask the patient to leave in the middle of the treatment, but, as their symptoms turn mild, we will discharge them", they told Sputnik.
8 dead at Batra hospital after oxygen supply reaches late. 6 of them were on ICU on high flow Oxygen. Among those who died is a doctor of the hospital from the gastro Dept. Dr. SCL Gupta, Medical Director, Batra speaking about the incident 👇🏾@TOIDelhi pic.twitter.com/GqFJpaY0bl— Sakshi Chand (@sakshichand8TOI) May 1, 2021
I work inside covid ward & i am terrified with the death of senior dr due to O2 shortage in batra hospital. This is criminal negligence & Modi govt should be booked for murder. Mismanagement & ignorant behaviour of govt having negative impact on confidence of frontline warriors.— Harjit Singh Bhatti (@DrHarjitBhatti) May 1, 2021
The Batra Hospital is not alone. Many large hospitals in Delhi are not taking any new admissions and are trying to reduce beds.
Last week, North Delhi's biggest facility, the Rajiv Gandhi Super Speciality Hospital decided to decrease its capacity from 650 to 350 COVID beds. Similarly, the GTB Hospital, one of the largest in the captial, has reduced its capacity from 1,500 to 700 beds for coronavirus patients.
Delhi is currently battling an unprecedented surge in COVID-19 cases, if hospitals reduce the number of beds, it will severely impact the city's fight against the pandemic.
The second wave of the pandemic has resulted in an acute shortage of basic facilities like beds, ventilators, oxygen supplies, and drugs as hospitals struggle to hold together the city's healthcare infrastructure.
Meanwhile, in the last 24 hours, India recorded 368,147 new COVID-19 cases, taking the cumulative tally to 19.9 million cases.
Delhi alone reported more than 20,000 new infections and 407 deaths on Sunday.
Need Help From Army to Transport Oxygen, Says Delhi Government
The Delhi government, on Monday, sought the help of the Indian Army to transport oxygen to hospitals that need it urgently.
"Yesterday, Delhi received 440 MT of oxygen, which is lower than the allocated quota of 590 MT. We need 976 MT daily as we are increasing the number of beds", Delhi Deputy Chief Manish Sisodia said.
Delhi Deputy CM Manish Sisodia writes to Defense Minister, Rajnath Singh for lending services of armed forces to set up and operationalize #CovidFacilities with about 10,000 oxygenated Non ICU beds and 1000 ICU Beds.#DelhiFightsCorona #COVID19India @msisodia @rajnathsingh pic.twitter.com/RKrpoYt2wp— Live Law (@LiveLawIndia) May 3, 2021
We need urgent help to transport oxygen. We have sought help from different sources including the Army, Central government & its different wings, and private sector: Delhi Deputy CM Manish Sisodia pic.twitter.com/4QthUhWe2D— ANI (@ANI) May 3, 2021
Hospitals Sending SOS Alerts to Government
Many hospitals on Sunday sounded the alarm on Twitter over shortages of oxygen, the city's Madhukar Rainbow Children's Hospital raised an alert saying more than 25 newborns faced a threat due to inconsistent oxygen supply.
Madhukar Rainbow Children’s Hospital,New Delhi wouldn’t take any admission which require Oxygen or Ventilation Support due to Inconsistent Liquid Oxygen Supply. This is with immediate effect.Also we don’t have enough supply post 11 PM tonight.#SOS @raghav_chadha @rameshbidhuri— Rainbow Children's Hospitals (@RCH_India) May 2, 2021
We request consistent supply of Liquid Oxygen at Madhukar Rainbow Children’s Hospital, Malviya Nagar, New Delhi#Oxygen #SOS #COVIDEmergency @raghav_chadha @rashtrapatibhvn @CMODelhi @LtGovDelhi @attorneybharti @PMOIndia @aajtak @ndtv @CNN @tehseenp @TOIIndiaNews @DOJPH— Rainbow Children's Hospitals (@RCH_India) May 2, 2021
The Jaipur Golden Hospital also took to social media, saying they possess enough oxygen for only three hours.
We are left with around 3 hours of oxygen. @inoxairproducts has delayed scheduled supply for today. Please help with SOS top up. We have 150 patients on Oxygen out of which 70 are in the ICU. #OxygenEmergency #OxygenShortage @CMODelhi @raghav_chadha @TheRahulMehra— Jaipur Golden Hospital (@JaipurGolden) May 2, 2021
On early Monday morning, the Jeevan Anmol Hospital in East Delhi sounded a similar alarm.
SOS SOS SOS— Dr. Neera Sondhi (@NeeraSondhi) May 2, 2021
Its Jeevan Anmol Hospital, Mayur Vihar Phase-1, New Delhi-110091, we are left with 1 hour of oxygen. We have 60 patients admitted in our hospital. kindly help@PMOIndia @ArvindKejriwal @msisodia @drharshvardhan @SatyendarJain @ZeeNews @aajtak @ABPNews
On 24 April, at least 20 coronavirus patients in Delhi died after the Jaipur Golden Hospital ran out of oxygen. A day earlier, 25 of the "sickest" coronavirus patients died at the city's Sir Ganga Ram Hospital amid a last-minute scramble for oxygen.
Similar tragic incidents have been reported in several other parts of the country.